By Kyla Rain
I feel like, looking around, we’re all so concerned with making things bigger and better. The next device to distract us from real life, the next trip that’s more luxurious than the next, planning every second of the night to a T, in the hopes that it will be perfect. The things I remember, my “big” memorable moments, however, aren’t very big at all.
This year on Earth Day, my friend and I made an unexpected stop at a pot-luck down in Ocean Beach, purely based on the promise of free food her mom had made earlier that day. What we didn’t anticipate: spending the next three hours in the same chair, talking to the same two people, full of meaning with a full belly. Behind us, a circle of hippies covering the classics from the Grateful Dead, and in front of us, the most interesting pair of individuals I had ever had the privilege to meet.
Their faces are something I might see in a dream one night, but immediately forget once my eyes open the next morning; faded around the edges, but tugging at a heart-string all the same.
It was like we had stepped back in time, abruptly pushed back into 1972 with the full force of nostalgia. If I tried hard enough, I could imagine exactly how each person must have looked like back in their hay-days of long braided hair and bare feet, when Bowie ruled the world. I wish I could have asked them all to tell me their life story, write it down in a book so maybe I could feel the echo of a lost era, if only for a moment. Maybe one day I will.
I wanted so desperately to grab my Cannon AE-1, snapping every detail onto little rectangles of film, in the hopes that the feeling would be caught too. This sort of wistful longing that wraps itself around your mind, leaving it cloudy and spaced after the moment has passed.
But I didn’t.
My camera stayed where I first had set it in the beginning of the night, patiently waiting, perched on the table next to me. I was scared that if I broke from this spell, even for just a second, this wonderful thing I had so unexpectedly found would wear off, and I’d be left exactly where I was two hours earlier. I knew eventually this conversation had to end; we would have to say our goodbyes, wash our plates… wake up the next morning wondering if it had all been a dream… but not just yet.
My point being, there were no fireworks, no huge musical performance, no phones, no cameras, just us. That was probably one of the most memorable moment of my life thus far, and here are some things I remember the most from it:
The way the air felt, smooth and crisp on my skin as the sun went down over the ocean, and how it carried the shrieks of the kids under the table.
The thick orange glow of a sunset seeming to blanket everything in sight.
The way I was able to say what I actually meant, without contradiction or degradation because of my age; the full-hearted feeling of a real conversation.
The smell of food from inside, a feast of fully vegan options and the best meal I’ve ever had.
Knowing and accepting the strong possibility I would never cross paths with anyone present a second time. That was just the way it was, and I committed every detail to memory because of it.
These things aren’t something you can find on a phone screen, or in a precisely planned night, they just happen. Naturally and unforced. I hope you all experience something like this in your life, and when you do, hold onto the moment for as long as you can. The photos on your phone will never amount to the emotion that rushes through you in the moment.